Permits for stacked pay wells?

Can someone explain permitting and drilling for stacked pays? Example: Texas RRC approves permits for twin v-shaped long laterals from one well pad, API 389-37589 (5H) and 37581 (6H). Lateral wellbores are 10,176’ long. Assuming initial drill into Wolfcamp A is profitable, operator may drill additional lateral lines into multiple vertical landing zones, i.e., Wolfcamp B, C, D.

(Q) Assume no more permits needed to drill the deeper vertical strata levels? Single RRC permit allows multiple landing zones?

(Q) How can mineral owner know if/when operator drills additional strata, if no new permit is required?

(Q) Is API 389-37581 (6H) commonly considered one well with four horizontal wellbores (strata A, B, C, D), or is it called four wells since wellbores penetrate four vertical strata?

(Q) If operators estimate well cost at $7 or $8 million, do they refer to each 10,000’ lateral line, e.g., 389-37581 might cost $30 million if four different Wolfcamp strata were drilled. Or, do they mean $7-$8 million will fund multiple horizontal wellbores from one pad/one permit?

You are going to get a brand new well for each target. The 5H and 6H start from the same pad, but they are separate wells. As would any subsequent wells. I could bore you with the details, but once you are are talking isolated modern hydraulic fracturing, it’s insane to try to put multiple laterals in a single wellbore. So separate wellhead, separate API number, etc. If you want to target the Wolfcamp A and Wolfcamp B, you are going to drill a 2nd well 400’ under the first well.

So each well would cost $7-8m or maybe more. If you want to develop 4 landing zones (strata) at 1320’ spacing across a 1 mile wide unit, you are going to drill 16 wells and spend $150M or whatever.

For example here is EOGs Pathfinder Unit (Loving Cty). Each color of dot represents a different zone. Yes, it’s a crazy amount of wells. This is why it is going to take 40 years for people’s minerals to get developed to the Jed Clampett level that they may be expecting. Probably longer if financial system continues to view lending $ to E&P companies with increased skepticism.

Thx, extremely helpful. Do you have section number or API so I can look at those EOG wells in Loving C? Its difficult to figure this out from RRC website and FAQ, and YouTube videos depict multiple vertical wellbores emanating from single wellheads like tree branches.

Wall Street Journal criticized Encana for drilling too many “cube” wellbores at one time without sequencing, Encana’s June investor presentation is sort of confusing as diagram appears (to rookies) that multiple landing zones start from same wellpad(s).

Tried to paste screenshot, hope its visible.

Multiple landing zones can start from the same pads. They are just different wells that are drilled the required feet apart. Much cheaper and environmentally good to use the same pad area and use a rig that walks over or moves to the next location. The picture makes it look like they are the same spot, but they are not.

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That EOG unit is Sec 2. Block 54 T1. Right on NM border.

At MrsBarnes said, wellheads usually 30’ or so apart on a pad. Pad drilling allows for simple rig moves, consolidated battery/power, single drill pit (in TX), etc.

Have no WSJ subscription. The odds that a WSJ O&G article is written by somebody who understands the material is not high. Along those lines I refer you to the wisdom of Michael Crichton on journalism:

"You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In my case, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read.”

Thx, I interpret, e.g, that if 5H & 6H pay out, operator may seek new permits for 7H-8H and 9H-10H etc, possibly located on same well pad maybe separated 30’ apart, into different Wolfcamp landing zones 400’ deeper.

I suppose production will be RRC-published under one “lease” for the pooled unit, not as multiple wells. Time will tell.

Encana and other E&P companies speak of learning process now unfolding, with data-driven “wine rack” spacing to minimize well interference, I don’t think WSJ was picking on Encana. IMO Encana took calculated reasonable risk to drill cluster of wells simultaneously to reduce drilling costs, instead of methodical read-and-respond sequence wells … unfortunately wells were too close together.

Agree American journalism is in decline, but I admire Wall Street Journal, consider it superior among US newspapers but not perfect.